Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dress the Part II

Today we will explore the world of pre-made retro togs.

My all time FAVOURITE place to shop are my local thrift stores… for those of you who don't have good shops I have the following suggestions.

For authentic clothes, the #1 best place online that I've found is Etsy.com

You can find nearly anything in any size if you are patient enough to search for it.

I've even found plus size vintage clothes:

1940's Dress
Current Size 18W-20W
1940-50's dress
Current Size 18W, Misses 20

1930's Day Dress
Current Size 26W-28W
1940's WWII Dress
Current Size Misses 14-16

To search for these and more vintage clothing items on Etsy, be sure to search in the vintage category. For example… Here is a search for a vintage extra large dress
A great resource for a modern take on vintage clothes is an online shop called ModCloth.
Unfortunately, most of their clothes are too small for me, but none the less, check this out!

Below are some of my fav. Modcloth finds!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dress the Part

Sometimes finding vintage togs to fit modern bodies is next to impossible. Most of the clothes I've found from the early 20th century that are in good wearable condition are too small for me to wear. Not a problem that's new to me, at 6 feet tall I am an expert at finding clothes that DON'T fit.

But today, with the internet and reproduction patterns, this is slightly less of a challenge.

First up: Reproduction Patterns

Authentic 1940's Pattern
Reproduction of 1940's Pattern

My Great Uncle James Watt loved antiques. I always loved going to his house, it was chock full of antique furniture and collectibles. (That may have influenced my current love for all things early- mid twentieth century.) One thing that Uncle Jim said that has always stuck with me is this, "Don't buy antique furniture for practical living - stick with reproductions." He felt that antiques had their place as display pieces, or as art. But modern living is just too rough and tumble for delicate antiques. I believe the same goes for antique clothing.  Authentic period clothes can be amazing and beautiful. Some are even durable for modern use. But most, are best kept as study pieces for display and to aid in learning historical sewing techniques and reproduction pattern making. 

For clothes that will last and will not break your heart if they get damaged from use, stick to reproductions. And to be sure that you are getting both the quality of workmanship and fine materials I present to you the option of reproduction patterns!

Authentic historic patterns can be an amazing find, but keep in mind that terminology and sewing techniques have changed quite a bit over the last several decades.

Butterick B5152
Vogue V1043

Click on any image to find the resource to find that pattern.

Tomorrow we will look for finished authentic and reproduction clothing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Retro Diva's Best Friend

I was scouring the net this week looking for cool vintage images to play with when I found Ms. Casey Brown's blog "Elegant Musings." People, this girl is my alter ego.

Not only does she have an AWESOME blog that is chock full of retro living tutorials but she also does tutorial VIDEOS people! How this girl has not landed a television show is beyond my imaginings.

Check out this video on how to give yourself a quick and easy 1940s 'do, then go to her blog and be amazed!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Altered Art: Domino Pendants!

There is a new craft that has my Monkeys jumping! 

These are so easy to make you won't believe it! My mother found some awesome sites that showed us how to create these beautiful pendants.

These were all made by my almost 4 year old son!

If you love our pendants and want to make your own try the links below for 'how-to' guides.

Check it out!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Tale to Tell

My Halloween Mask placed 9th in Spoonflower's weekly design contest. I had such fun designing and making my masks that I attached a story to them. You can find the fabric version of The Lunar Moth and the Monarch Butterfly at Spoonflower by clicking here.

I'm also including 2 free printout masks for your very own use (see below)! Just click on the image to get the full size version, then right click and save! Should print on standard size paper.

And now for our story…

Once upon a time...
There were two lovers. Their love was pure and true. A scorned witch became jealous of their glory and cast a dark spell upon them.
One became a phantom of the night. With wings as enchanting as the moon.
The other was a slave to daylight, forever languishing in the sparkling sun.
The lovers only saw each other in the fleeting moments between wakefulness and dreams, as the sun and moon shared dominion over the sky.
The witch, no longer jealous, saw the anguish of their fate and wept.
The spell had brought only more pain to an already scorched heart. In despair the witch became the softest breeze. An eternal penence to caress and soothe the pain that was wrought.

Thus is the tale of the Lunar Moth and the Monarch Butterfly.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jewel Tones are In!

Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2010

I came across some articles on the fashion world's hot colours for Autumn. Think rich jewel tones. They are absolutely stunning! So get out there and start shopping for royal blues, deep purples, rich reds and don't forget gorgeous green. The hot pairing for each of these colours is basic black - it really makes the colour POP!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Favourite Blogs

Last weekend I was at a friend's wedding and was able to PAR-TAY with some good friends from college. The topic of conversation made its way to blogs and I promised to post some of my favourite blogs that I've found and read.

1) How About Orange - I check this blog about every other day, which is great, b/c that's about as often as Jessica Jones, graphic & textile designer extraordinaire, publishes a new post. She has all sorts of links and tid-bits about crafts and design.

2) This Mama Makes Stuff - This blog I check in with about once a week. It is well stocked with crafts and altered art (and clothing!) Carrie Lundell publishes this blog and, honestly, I don't know when the woman sleeps. She is a runner, biker, great mom and is CONTINUALLY crafting and blogging. When I grow up I want to be Carrie.

3) Things Your Grandmother Knew - I have to be careful about reading THIS blog. I tend to get sucked in, and read until my eyeballs ache. I don't know who manages this blog, but they are right up my ally when it comes to retro living and vintage chic.

These are, or course, not the ONLY blogs I read. I'll post more each week!
Enjoy for now!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ombre Hair

I may be slow on the draw with this new hair trend, after all, I'm more of a retro goddess than a trendy maven.  But this is one trend that I may be able to embrace.

When done well, this look is 'stop you in your tracks' gorgeous. You'll know when you see it. At first I thought this looked best with punky colours, it is easiest to do it this way. Bleach your ends (unless you're blonde) and dye your tips a fun colour. When you get sick of it, get a hair cut!

But I've seen some "natural" hues with this technique, and they are breathtaking. A natural look may be more difficult to pull off, as you need to be very careful of colour selection and application, lest you look like you are growing out your roots. But take a look at these beauties.

Check out "Lauren Does Hair" for more info on this hot trend!

So what do you think?
Is the Ombre Hair trend a do or a don't?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tea Time for the Birds!

This week's theme is Tea Time!

I found this bird feeder tutorial at Cap Creations. I slightly altered the materials used. Copper pipe is EXPENSIVE! And copper probably looks better, but for my birdy tea party we used 1" PVC pipe end caps and 3/4" black steal pipes. Much less expensive, especially if you are making several, and we are all crafty types here, so making 1 just will not do!

The kids and I all picked out our own tea cups at our favourite thrift store and then hit our local hardware store for the pipe, end cap (both found in the plumbing section) and super all-weather glue. We glued the cups to the saucers, carefully following the directions on the glue, and once that was dry the end caps were glued to the bottom of the saucer.

Water goes in the cup, and bird seed goes on the saucer! Viola!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Indoor S'mores

Before this summer, it had been years since I'd had a s'more. For you poor unfortunate souls who don't know what a s'more is - it is an American summertime tradition involving graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. 

Usually s'mores are made outside, marshmallows skewered on sticks and roasted over a campfire or charcoal grill. The perfect s'more is one where the marshmallow is toasty brown on the outside and creamy goo on the inside. There is some argument on the benefit of catching your marshmallow on fire, although I've never been a fan of "well done" s'mores.

Why are they called s'mores? Well, b/c when made properly, they are so good that you'll want some-more! 

Alas, I have no outdoor fire source and after attempting to roast a marshmallow over a candle (bad idea) I had to come up with a better alternative. 

Enter the microwave. We have an 1100/1200 watt microwave oven. Here is how to make yummy indoor s'mores…

Layer a graham cracker, square of chocolate and a marshmallow on a plate. Nuke at high for 12 seconds. Your marshmallow will expand and might even roll off your chocolate. Do not panic. After the 12 seconds, place your second graham cracker on top of your marshmallow (if your marshmallow rolled off the chocolate just sort of roll it back on to your stack). 

Smoosh and EAT! Yumm!

For gourmet s'mores try orange chocolate, mint chocolate or even chili chocolate bars (all three of which are available at my local Aldi store!

bon appetit!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Breaking the Silence

I haven't posted in looong time, but hey, it is summer and that means schools out, the kids are hyped up and life gets VERY busy.

It's funny, because I look forward to summer so that I don't have to get up so early to get kiddies up and out the door to school. But the kids get up early anyway!

One of our latest projects has been paper crane folding. Did you know that 1,000 paper cranes are called Senbazuru?  According to ancient Japanese legend when someone folds 1,000 paper cranes they are granted a wish from a crane. The crane is believed to be a mystical creature full of magic. Senbazuru are considered extremely lucky and are often given as gifts for special occasions.

Here is the link that I used to learn how to fold an origami crane: http://www.wikihow.com/Fold-a-Paper-Crane

And an image of some our pretty pastel cranes…

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheater Quilts at Spoonflower

This week's fabric contest at Spoonflower is the cheater quilt! A cheater quilt is a printed image on a single piece of fabric that looks like a pieced quilt once it is stitched around the pattern.

I have always wanted to make a double wedding ring quilt but have been too intimidated by the all the curves and small pieces, so I've made the next best thing. My very own 1930's inspired double wedding ring cheater quilt! All the fabric designs used in the quilt are my own interpretation of classic 1930's patterns and colours.

Some highly impressive designs have been submitted for the contest. I encourage everyone to go to Spoonflower and vote for their favourites! The winning designer will receive $100 to be spent at Spoonflower.com!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Motivational Monday!

A Dude for a change...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Motivational Monday!

Same lady as last week, but more results from another round of P90x!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today my little girl becomes a rising 3rd grader! Last night we had girl night, since Daddy was on call and the Little Man was at Grandma's house. We camped out in my bed, listened to the first few chapters of the audiobook reading for Twilight and talked ourselves to sleep.

Today she had her favourite breakfast and we got her teacher's end of year gift put together. Her teacher is having a baby girl any day now, so I made a custom solarveil sling (will have to do a tutorial for yall), included some SEA stationary, a "How To" on homemade baby wipes and sling wearing instructions. All in a bright pink metal pail for summer! And wouldn't you know it - I forgot to take a picture!

Now I'm getting ready for our summer vacation celebration this afternoon! First on my list are bright and beautiful hand tied floral bouquets! Here is the video from a great site called Howdini. I am officially addicted!

And here is the bouquet I made for my Rising Third Grader!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Motivational Monday!

Another P90X success story! Enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Do Your Best and Forget the Rest

It has been about 3 months since the birth of my latest baby. I am the heaviest I've been in 7 years. Folks, it is time to BRING IT!

You've probably seen those infomercials on TV. You know, the ones with the super ripped guys and girls with chiseled arms. I've seen them. The only one that has really gotten my attention is P90X. An intense 90 day program complete with exercises and food guide. I have watched that infomercial from beginning to end, more than once. I've googled, yahooed and chatted about it online. I've watched ordinary people's youtube videos. Finally, after about a year of research and debate my husband and I bought the program. We started it a little more than a year ago, around January 2009. The results were impressive. I was unable to complete the program, having been hit with two different flus nearly back to back that spring, but my husband managed to stick with it for the most part without me. He looked great! Then, last summer, we found out that we were having a baby… and the next 10 months are history.

So, now it is the end of May 2010. Maternity clothes are too big, my "fat" clothes are too small. I'm in no man's land. It's been nearly 3 months and I'm physically ready, my milk supply is safely established and I am definitely sick of the post baby bulge. My husband is sick of HIS post baby bulge too. (It works that way most of the time, you know, men get "pregnant" too.)

I've taken the last week to prepare, and on Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I will take the fit test, our weight and our measurements. Monday is day 1. Monday we push play. Monday we throw down with Tony Horton. And you, my lovelies, get a front row seat to my transformation.

Let me warn you… it will not be pretty.

Here are some motivational videos. I hope you will devote yourself to becoming healthy with me, not necessarily through P90X, but come on, lets do this thang!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Something For Your Weekend

I've made some free printable napkin rings for you this Memorial Day Holiday! 
Just Print, Cut and Tape these paper rings around your napkins and/ or silverware for cute barbecue decor!

Click on the image below and either right click to download the bookplates or just print directly from your internet browser.

Print on standard white paper or print on sticky back label paper! 

Viola! Instant cuteness!

This design complements the shoe fabric I've designed and listed on spoonflower.com!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dash to the Ballpark

Last Saturday was "Family Night" at our local Minor League ballpark. For $29.95 ($40 after paying through Ticketmaster - the crooks!) we received 4 tickets, 4 vouchers for a free meal at Chick-fil-a and 4 embroidered team hats. Not bad, even with the extra Ticketmaster fees.

Winston-Salem has had a baseball team, for just about forever. The latest incarnation is the Winston-Salem Dash (prior to this they were the Warthogs, EW!). The team has a brand new stadium. In fact it is so new, it still has that new stadium smell… really, the cement is so clean you could eat off of it! Construction was finally completed this Spring, after much controversy and near financial ruin. What started as a private enterprise is now owned by the city of Winston-Salem. And let me tell you, if they keep catering to families, Winston-Salem, and the Dash, are going to make a financial killing!

We had a blast. It was a warm night, although a bit humid as it had been raining off and on all day. The Dash hosted the Lynchburg Hillcats and, as soon as the last note of the National Anthem faded off into the evening, began to steadily beat their guests into the perfectly manicured lawn at BB&T Ballpark. Final score 11 to 4. 

The place was packed with over 7,000 fans in attendance, making it the largest crowd to date at the young stadium. We neglected to buy our tickets until Friday evening and wound up with lawn seats. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the lawn section. The view is not bad (I doubt there is a bad view anywhere in the whole stadium) and I'd venture a bet that the lawn is the most comfortable spot in the park. The Lawn is at a steep angle, which helps keep you upright if you have back ailments (like me) and is also the perfect angle for lounging while watching the game. A breeze seems to hit the lawn which really helps, and I'm unsure if the folks in the stand, surrounded by all sorts of stadium structure, can feel it so well, but, I don't know. My only complaint about the experience would be the concession prices. A coke was $4.00 for an ice filled cup that one could down in a matter of minutes. I understand the prices at these events are always high, but I think a town like Winston-Salem, with a minor league team, could be a little more reasonable.

It was a pretty perfect evening and an impressive display by the team. We even saw the Famous Chicken - the kids loved it! And although I'm still not over the baseball strike of 1994, and will always remain a Pirate fan in spite of their record, the Dash have come dangerously close to re-igniting my affection for the sport.

In the end, all I can promise is this… We will definitely be back!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Retro Shoes Bookplate

Today I am offering my first free printable design!

Click on the image below and either right click to download the bookplates or just print directly from your internet browser.
Print on standard white paper and glue into books using a glue stick, or print on sticky back label paper
**Designed for AVERY #8164**

Viola! Instant cuteness!

This design complements the shoe fabric I've designed and listed on spoonflower.com!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Artist in Residence

Last week a note was sent home from my daughter's school. Charlotte is NEVER in trouble, so I wasn't concerned when she handed it to me, in fact, she was highly excited.

As it turns out, Charlotte's Kabuki Theatre Mask was chosen to represent her class in a county wide art exhibition. I could not be more proud!

Below in an interview with the artist. 

And a shout out to her awesome Art Teachers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Kind of Store


I hate my clothes.

I wish Tim Gunn were my uncle. I keep a picture of him on my refrigerator to remind me to take care of my appearance. Yes, as a mother of three, I am sad to say that I am 'one of those' women who have succumbed to ponytails and t-shirts. I dream of being that glamour mom, you know, the one with perfectly coiffed hair, an outfit that doesn't look like she had to do the 'sniff' test before donning it. They type with manicured nails, walk with hair-free legs, and dress their children in co-ordinated outfits.

I know these women exist. They are there to show us what could be, and we (I'm talking to all the moms out there who have succumbed like I have) tell ourselves that these mothers must have unhappy children who are robots or will grow up to be heartless, money grubbing Wall Street types. But I don't think that's true, at least not for all of them.

And I'm not talking about keeping up with the Jones'. I am talking about looking our best. About "making it work."

It has to start somewhere, and for me, it begins with clothes.

I have found my perfect store. It's called Mod Cloth. The ideal me would have these clothes in her closet and what's more, she'd wear them! 

I Only Have Eyes For This Dress  $189.99

I would get this for my girlfriend's wedding if it weren't so white.

Earth Angel Dress  $199.99

Lovely Lace Shirt  $34.99

Now, here are two shirts I would feel good about wearing with jeans!

Kabhi Khushi Top $47.99

Turquoise Poise Trench  $109.99

Peanut Butter Ruffle Dress  $57.99

Beach Blanket Bingo Two Piece in Red  $89.99

Bathing Beauty One Piece in Emerald  $89.99

Bow-llerina Flat in Pas de BourrĂ©e  $31.99